JOHANNESBURG: Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, a veteran of the fight against apartheid who spent years imprisoned on Robben Island alongside Nelson Mandela, died on Monday aged 84, South Africa’s ruling party announced.

Ebrahim passed away at his Johannesburg home after a long illness, the African National Congress (ANC) said in a statement.

He “was a longstanding member of the ANC, a patriot who served his country in different capacities with humility, dedication and distinction,” the party said.

A largely unsung figure in the chronicles of apartheid, Ebrahim joined the struggle against white-minority rule in his early teens, becoming an ANC youth activist in 1952.

His life followed the arc of the liberation movement — beginning with non-violent protests, becoming a guerrilla fighter, getting imprisoned on Robben Island twice, and eventually joining the democratic government.

Known as “Ebie”, he was born in Durban on July 1, 1937. As a child, he saw his father get arrested twice for breaking laws that prevented Indians from travelling freely within South Africa.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2021

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